Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives

jobcentreThe shocking story of Jobcentre abuse recently published on Disabled People Against Cuts’ (DPAC) website will be all too familiar to many claimants.

The post tells the story of a claimant who was called on their mobile phone by a Jobcentre advisor in the middle of a blood transfusion for a life threatening condition.  Instead of simply offering to call back, the advisor then began demanding that they immediately attend the Jobcentre for a back to work assessment, despite the claimant having lost six pints of blood due to kidney failure.

It is difficult to call for unity between claimants and low paid  (and themselves harassed) Jobcentre staff when claimants face open abuse like this.  But every job has its share of contemptible bastards and part time Jobcentre staff themselves will soon be facing this brutal regime when Universal Credit is introduced.  We will all be benefit scroungers then and this unites Jobcentre staff and claimants with a common cause.  This is an opportunity to amplify and escalate the fight against Iain Duncan Smith’s bodged social security reforms and it should be taken by those in and out of work alike.

The treatment doled out to the above claimant reveals a dangerous time-bomb at the heart of welfare reform.  Without excusing at all the behaviour reported by DPAC, there is really no reason why Jobcentre staff would have any understanding of complex health problems.

Jobcentre staff are not health care professionals.  Neither are they social workers, mental health specialists, probation officers, substance misuse counsellors or housing officers. Yet Jobcentre staff have been granted unprecedented powers over the lives of so called ‘vulnerable people’.  With a stroke of a pen, Jobcentre decision makers can sentence claimants to four weeks unpaid work, or stop vital benefits, whatever their circumstances.

In fact there is no reason why Jobcentre staff would ever even know that someone has a drug problem, a mental health condition, a serious health problem or is street homeless.  And if they do know, they aren’t trained to deal with it.

The situation is even worse on the privatised Work Programme where the ‘black box’ style of provision means welfare to work companies can mandate claimants to almost any activity they see fit with no scrutiny whatsoever.

As Jobcentre staff themselves could well testify, even before the huge re-assessment of people on sickness and disability benefits, then many of the small number of long term unemployed people often face complex problems in their lives.  It may surprise people to know that if someone hasn’t had job for twenty years, it is usually not because they are lazy. Jobcentres have always dealt with large of numbers unemployed people who were sleeping on the streets, had diagnosed, or undiagnosed mental health conditions, serious problems with drugs or alcohol or a range of factors that meant full time work was a long way away*.

Now those people have been joined by hundreds of thousands of claimants formerly on sickness and disability benefits and everyone of whom has been signed off work by their own GP.  If a GP can order someone to bed rest only to be over-ridden by a DWP clerk or welfare to work advisor ordering them back to workfare, then what chance do social workers, mental health nurses or probation officers have.

From December 3rd last year the DWP gave powers to Work Programme companies and Jobcentres to mandate sick or disabled claimants to workfare for an unspecified period.  Workfare sharks like the inaptly named The Conservation Volunteers (@TCVtweets) have said they will provide their own assessment of a claimants ability to carry out the very physical workfare programmes they run**.  A conservation charity worker can now force someone to work unpaid even against the advice of the claimant’s doctor.

The potential consequences of this are horrific and not just for claimants.  With no CRB checks, risk or health and safety assessments on the Mandatory Work Activity scheme – or any interaction with other agencies – then the possible dangers are endless.  An alcoholic could be sent to work in a licenced premises for example.  Or someone with a history of violence in stressful situations could be sent on workfare to work in a stressful situation.  This is something workfare using charity shop managers might like to consider before being tempted by the lure of free labour.

It is only a matter of time before this situation leads to a tragedy.  And when it does, it will quite likely be a Jobcentre worker who faces the blame.  This should be a pressing matter for the PCS Union whose members cannot be expected to have a specialist understanding of the vast array of problems that claimants face.

And they should be supported by social workers, probation officers,  mental health teams and other social care professionals.  As Universal Credit is introduced and benefit conditionality vastly expanded then care plans, child protection measures, resettlement and treatment programmes will be torn up as vulnerable people are subject to the nasty and ever changing whims of ministers at the DWP.

*Homelessness, substance misuse and mental health charities also know this incidentally.  They have just chosen to remain silent as the magical belief has flourished that if only someone got a job in Tesco then all their other problems would disappear.  Some people will sadly never make it in this cruelly competitive capitalist world where people are solely judged by how much they profit they can generate for the rich.

** TCV have changed their statement and there is now no reference to them saying they assess a claimant’s health before they begin a period of workfare.  Presumably they now leave it to poverty pimps like A4e to decide.  They have said they will not use people on sickness benefits as workfare staff – if they are fibbing and anyone knows of anyone on ESA forced to work at TCV then contact Boycott Workfare:  http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=1703

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190 responses to “Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives

    • no, but now hopefully lots of people will.

    • what a prick JOC is he needs to be sacked, and thrown in prison, the cunt

    • I got abused friday, i got referred upstairs for a sanction, , he called me a liar, i wasnt doing any jobsearch just writing stuff on a piece of paper, and he said i should be applying for the jobs the able bodied people are, when i said do they have the disabilities i do, i then got looked at like i was a piece of crap, I cant stand more than 3 hours a day, so im going to see my doctor and he better pray to god i never cross his path again.

      he seems to forget without unemployed people he wouldnt have a job.

      • this type of behavior is escalated out of all reason.what looks to be happening is the disabled are being targeted. this happened a while back and was called a “misunderstanding”

        the misunderstanding has now come back ,they think they are dealing with an easy sanction target . they are not a help, jobcentre staff just look to sanction.

  1. I am long term unemployed and have come across good and bad Jobcentre staff. I know I am someone who does not like to be walked over and can be an argumentative sod, so accept some of my confrontations with Jobcentre staff are my fault. With that in mind and my previous experiences taken into account I would summize that on the whole most Jobcentre staff are “good”. That said I agree with your post. At a time when solidarity amongst everyone is paramount, it simply won’t do to say “I am just doing my job or just doing as I am told”. If, as it is blatantly obvious, Jobcentre staff are not trained to make medical or social decisions about a person’s ability to work and bearing in mind these decisions can have such devastating effects on people’s lives, they should refuse to participate in this charade. And then they should receive the full backing of their Union, PCS. It is a fact, we the people, truly are in this together (or should be) but Cameron and his political and big business cronies are not

  2. Out of interest, what has the PCS done to prevent claimants from being mistreated? I know there has been some motions passed at conferences but what has actually happened on the ground?

    This article makes good points about what is now expected of DWP staff. It appears to me (former union rep in another industry) that the union have a good case for non compliance because staff are not trained in medical or mental health evaluations. The union could invoke health and safety legislation, even the EU law, as that would not require ballots for action. Also a work to rule could be implemented that would at least slow the processes down, again work to rules don’t require ballots as you are only asking people to work their contracted hours.

    But I wonder if such tactics let alone union-wide solidarity in refusing to carry out the regime is even on the PCS’s radar or even that of other unions in the TUC?

    • A very good question. What help can claimants expect from the PCS with regard to the beaviour of the people that control the purse strings?

    • When I was claiming income support I was asked if I’d like to do an english and maths course. I was a single mum so automatically stupid. My advisor looked shocked when I said ‘no thanks, I actually got an A and a B in GCSE english and a C in maths, I can count, read and write’. She didn’t ask me again. I went to college too but was keeping that for next time ;) I’ve had good and bad advisors. The worst was one in Hull who, on hearing I was pregnant, said I would be called in for an appointment 2 days before my due date. He pulled a face like a smacked arse when I asked if he seriously expected me to waddle in full term! One friend, after missing a signing on appointment because she’d been in hospital after loosing twins, was told she shouldn’t have got pregnant in the first place! I’m so glad I don’t have to go there anymore.

      • Landless Peasant

        I have been forced, against my will, to complete a Basic Skills Assessment at least half a dozen times over the past few years, despite my objections, and despite the fact that I already have O-Levels in English and Mathematics, not to mention a bloody Degree! Each time I passed the test with 100%. I once walked out of A4e (Arses For Elbows) because the bossy woman in charge there refused to give me an explanation of why her company does not accept nationally recognized qualifications. Next time I will contact the relevant examining board who issued my certificates.

      • Hi Dark Angel. What disgusting a disgusting way to talk to your friend after the heartache and trauma of losing twins. That comment was the lowest of the low. I wish I didn’t have to sign on,. I am currently T.T.C (even though I am a single mum) to get back on income support even if it is only for 5 years. People are more than free to pass judgement but we all do what we do for our own reasons. I doubt I am the only one either. I had an interview last week so it would be ironic if I am pregnant and I am also offered the job. xx

      • without any hesitation

        If it were me who was spoken to like that and after something so traumatic as well. I would be going straight to my local paper and making a damn holy show of them and I would also have no hestiation in naming the advisor as well. (if legal to do so). How dare they dicitate to anyone whether or not they should get pregnant. Do they have the say over our bodies now as well.
        If your freind reads the persons charter (how you can expect from us it is certainly not to insulted. People are being spoken to like rats, well I wouldn’t even talk to a rat like that. It has gone on long enough, now.

  3. It is not just the sick or disabled who are suffering under the tyranny of these people at the JCP. Imagine being unemployed and having these people insist you take a literacy test. Sound reasonable?

    How would you feel being told take the test, the literacy course when you are the holder of a PhD in literature? No, sitting there being told to take literacy tests, the basic English courses or face destitution by an adviser who clearly has no idea what the words on your CV mean really won’t bother you….? These people are treating human beings like worthless cattle, in such a mind-twistingly cruel way, it is enough to drive anyone right off a high building.

    The staff at the JCP are not poor wee souls out of their depth. They are adults who are well aware of what they are doing. The staff must be held to account. I hold no truck with the old SS excuse of *only doing my job*. Europe has been there and done that and learned the lesson in our recent past. They are responsible for themselves and the consequences of their incompetence. This is not simply down to a vile series of right wing parties (yes, Labour are a vile right wing party, just like the Tories and the Liberal Democrats) but also down to people in offices given the power and more than willing to inflict psychological cruelty in exchange for a little bit of money.

    • something survived...

      I was forced to do the test and then was blamed for getting 100% in both parts. They said I ‘should have’ got less, because they NEED people to have a mark that can be ‘improved on’. At every school I went to I was academically top of the class, and of the form/year group, and of the school. In all subjects except Maths and PE.
      A lot of the people who got U’s and F’s could be CEO’s by now.
      And I’ve been on the dole for over 15 years. After over 7000 job applications nobody wants me. That includes many fields of work.
      Why am I not allowed to use my time to go on intellectual/academic courses? When after all I’m disabled and nobody will employ me. And there are not many jobs, and those there ARE I can’t do, and the ones I COULD do I get told they don’t want me. So do the ones I’m forced to apply for.

      On the point of the Conservation Volunteers: I applied to them and the Wildlife Trust to be a volunteer. But they said I was too disabled so could not. Now that BCTV are using workfare (in winter) and claiming to assess us themselves (okay the top ones may be qualified tree surgeons, but that hardly makes them doctors!), I could be sent as a workfare slave to do work they’d refused me the right to do in the past for being too disabled!

  4. Slightly off topic, but I can’t help but applaud this young man: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275045/Unemployed-man-dumped-huge-bag-dog-mess-job-centre-staff-refused-pay-dole-money-10minutes-late-signing-on.html
    I’m sure many people who’ve been treated like sh%t by the Jobcentre have felt like doing the same thing!

    • something survived...

      brilliant I said somebody would end up doing this.

      Do a bemused look and say: but I was just putting it with all the other shit, it belongs here?

      • something survived...

        What I was going to say: it beats my dead rat hands down… but then again I was going to try being subtle and stick the dead rat in a shopping bag by the desk or down the back of a Jobpoint machine.

        My ‘advisor’ bullied me again today. I couldn’t get a bus, ran all the way there, she signed me but said she’d give me a sanction doubt for WRITING TOO MUCH on the form about things I did to look for work. This woman is a bitch. She could only be improved by a tipper truck dropping 50kg of manure on her.

    • It’s better to get a golf club and do damage to the parked cars of JCP advisers.

  5. Alcoholism is a recognised illness which cannot be dismissed by dwp and atos.
    and as you say private work program providers who are only in it for profit should not have that or any control of peoples lives. but they do so because of one central issue. It’s called ‘ payment by results’.
    Which was warned about in 2011. And has shown now to be at the heart of this vicious regime.

  6. I Can see that its going to be a case of ‘THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMA,S IF THINGS CONTINUE THE WAY THEY ARE….MARK MY WORDS…..

  7. “Workfare sharks like the inaptly named The Conservation Volunteers (@TCVtweets) have said they will provide their own assessment of a claimants ability to carry out the very physical workfare programmes they run. ”

    This is absolutely fucking outrageous! Is there a link for this?

  8. Pingback: Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's | Scoop.it

  9. Johnny, thanks for this post. The behaviour in the DPAC post is inexcusable but as the pressure mounts I suspect it will become more frequent. I’m a PCS rep for another department and we really are trying to do what we can to stop all of this.

    It is all legally problematic but personally I agree that we should be pushing for members to refuse to co-operate with this stuff. There are more motions to conference this year, at least one of which is very specific in asking for non-cooperation and support for those members who refuse to attack claimants (or ‘customers’ in DWP newspeak.)

    Whether the motions pass, and whether anything happens on the back of them, remains to be seen. There is a culture of fear among low-grade civil servants at the minute which makes many afraid to stand up and be counted. Solidarity from both sides of the Job Centre desks will help that. We should remember that many of our members and their family members are claimants too!

    I’ll carry on waving the placards and spreading the word and I know many, many other PCS activists will too.

    • As claimants are to be described as “customers” then they should be treated as customers, that is, with courtesy , politeness & any complaint taken seriously. The customer is always right, goes the old saying, but in this case the customers cannot take their business elsewhere.
      To be fair, though, I’ve only ever encountered one really nasty & sarcastic “adviser”( I put in a complaint about her, & informed her to her face that I had done so) in the dealings I’ve had with the DWP over the years, the vast majority have been helpful & polite. I just hope they’re not a dying breed at the DWP.

    • I have a very close friend who is a PCS member, he is trying very hard to right the wrongs, I don’t think it is fair to union bash when it seems as if they are possibly the only friends we have left. I know how hard he is working for us all. I am now also expecting an assessment soon, my letter has arrived and I am very scared about what may happen as there is no way in hell that I could ever work again. I have several major illnessess, not one overall obvious condition and it is this that makes me think they will ignore the cumulative picture. I am on significant amounts of morphine daily but I doubt they will care about that. I read the post on the DPAC site and my stomach turned with the disgust and hatred I feel towards this government. Under the light of all that is occuring on a daily basis I feel justified in calling them the Nazi Party, there are to many similarities to how the Nazi’s operated in the past and to how Camoron et.al. are behaving now.

  10. Johnny this takes me onto the PIP assessments which from what I have been looking into. Apart from using NHS and gp surgeries as assessment centres causing a backlog of patient waiting queues plus the resentment towards claimants that could happen as result. The assessments look to be quite thorough eg preparing simple meals and washing and bathing. And when you consider it will be carried out by the likes of atos and other private concerns quite honestly it alarms me . To subject ppl to.such humiliation and in some cases in the privacy of their own homes too.
    Now add to the fact that capita will undertake the running of the social fund with similar assessments to atos etc plus an appeals system. The whole sorry mess will cause no end of misery for many. And all this to ‘save money’ whilst dishing out tons of it to private companies who don’t give a shit about claimants but only in it for the money.

  11. The capita social fund administering will be using a process known as ‘extensive customer filtering’ of which I am looking into. There is a PDF document on it all from crapita website under social fund. If anyone is interested .

  12. DWP Doncaster Jobseekers ‘had not been using loo paper at all’ TWEETS A4e Dir of Policy & Strategy http://wp.me/p1B02C-p9X

  13. Sorry Dave Plummer, until your memebrs begin to respect claimants, you can whistle for any solidarity from me. YOUR members have power over the victims of this neoliberal nightmare and your members are taking money to treat those victims like trash, responsible for the world’s woes. It was a PCS member at the JCP, who told me I had to learn to use a computer and the internet by taking a course.. Obviously, my computing science degree and work history as a programmer for a company building websites was evidence I needed to learn.

    How dare your members treat anyone like that. How dare they. I’m working now in a management role and I’m paying tax to pay these foul incompetent people their wages?. I wouldn’t employ any of them; poor attitude to colleagues, to clients, poor listening skills, unable to say no to those who want them to undertake tasks no one should, unable to alert superviisors to problems, instead prefereing to carry out instructions that they themselves can see are causing severe problems, ill-mannered, deluded in their own skills and abilities, poor reading skills, poor reasoning skills, and clearly unable to think through their actions. . The potential for them to create disruption, and an unhealthy work environment is too great for me to employ them in any capactiiy

    Solidarity? From me? I don’t think so – not after being treated like a commodity in a fraudulent transaction and threatened with destitution if I didn’t co-operate.. .

  14. Dave plummer

    You say you are asking your union for a motion to be passed for non – cooperation in cruel acts, only confirms that you are all guilty of performing these cruel acts otherwise you would not still be working there.
    I think they have all been recruited from the BNP or UKIP although given what labour and the condems have done all could be guilty and I lhave no sympathy for none of them, you know and they know they can refuse to be cruel and face the consequences.
    As for the other apologist who said he can be argumentative towards jc staff, most people who argue with them do so as a defensive mechanism against their attacks, which are strategic in order to sanction you end of.

    • something survived...

      Likely! Today a very attractive, smartly dressed black woman (obviously British) walked in to report theft, she needed to call the benefits people then go to the police. She sounded wellspoken with no accent. As she walked out the G4S guard said under his breath, ‘jungle bunny they should go back where they came from, what does she expect!’ It is the same guard who has got away with 2 years of homophobic, racist and ablist comments. Several times over the last few months he has called people with an accent ‘not able to speak English’.

      If it is offensive to pigs I apologise, but the guard looks like a pig. Reminds me of the ones in the cartoon version of Animal Farm.

      Several single mothers were on the phone because their benefits got stopped, and one said she was separated and her ex has the bank account and took all her money (dole). She said he locked her out of it. On the phone they told her they don’t care. (Incidentally Universal Credit is to be paid to the PARTNER not the claimant, so lots of potential for abuse. 1800s marriage laws that treated women as property, are coming back! Never mind a woman’s right to earn and control her OWN money!)
      Another was about to give birth and they’d stopped her benefits.
      A couple were living in separate places: the guy in a homeless hostel and the girl in 2 places, both miles apart and miles away from his hostel. She couldn’t visit her unmarried male partner due to the rules at his hostel and vice versa. They had a baby. Ironically their only times together were to go to the jobcentre and try to get their benefits back. They PREVIOUSLY lived together but got evicted because the rent wasn’t paid, because HB got stopped. The council refused to house them together! The girl kept explaining what ‘no fixed abode’ means. One of the places she lives is half an hour by bus from his hostel, but the other is over 2 hours away. They weren’t happy with any of the addresses she provided. She said about places she sometimes sofa surfed at, explaining they are running out of patience with her. She can’t stay there free indefinitely. You need an address to get your benefits. Every time she told them an address they said no.

      Some other people in the JCP today said their benefits were stopped because of illness. A guy came in a bit late and they Sanctioned him.

      • @SOMETHING SURVIVED..I am glad you are keeping a record of all this..as i said before a testament..you need to video record it an youtube it..as evidence…what gets me is the official line which is ‘we treat people fairly” well it contravenes to trade descriptions act’

  15. Is there no MPs screaming about this injustice? How can such powers be given to a clerk in the JCP or for that matter on the Work Programmes etc? Who in Government is fighting for the people? There was a time when our MPs would fight injustice. What is labour doing? At one time they would put up a fight.

  16. Rosemarie Harris

    Nice to see a post from a PCS member. As we are all on the same side it would be nice if at your end you could tell your members not to attempt this way in the first place and that as a union you will support them and do everything possible to help them. As a unemployed person myself i do understand the pressure’s your members are under but we are under a hell of a lot more. I don’t know what meetings you have with your members but perhaps a session away from work to say this is want they( Government )want but if we do it this way we are doing what they want but being fair.
    There are ways around rules but you need to be sure that you all understand them and how far you can go. If it’s fair then we are all fighting the same fight .

  17. Apologies the phrase is ‘effective customer filtering.’ not extensive.
    All the same it does not bode well.
    The pdf can be downloaded or viewed from this link.

    http://www.capita-softwareandmanagedservices.co.uk/partnerships/pages/socialfund_administration.aspx

  18. Regarding the argumentative nature of my character I was speaking about myself. I know what I am like and if I think I am right will speak up for myself but I am realistic enough to realise that it may make a situation worse because I dont stop. However I was speaking for myself in that respect and myself only. It is up to others how they react and I respect that. I helped out on PCS picket line at local Jobcentre on June 30th last year as I feel solidarity is and always will be the key. However I fully accept that solidarity cannot work as one way street and I am now at the stage where I am not sure if I would ‘help out’ again until I gained a sense that solidarity was being returned from Jobcentre staff and PCS as a whole in particular regarding Work Capability Assessments and ATOS

  19. This is an extract from parliamentary document about jcp and the youth contract.


    97. We asked the then Minister of Employment for
    his response to the widespread criticism in the media and elsewhere
    earlier in the year that the JCP Work Experience scheme allowed
    employers to exploit young people for unpaid labour. He argued
    that it was “a fear that is simply not grounded in reality”.
    His view was that exploitation of this kind was unlikely because
    JCP provided only short-term placements whereas it usually takes
    significantly longer to develop someone into a truly productive
    employee. He told us that DWP’s guidance to JCP was, “If
    you have doubts about an employer, do not use them”.[89] “

  20. Ps I am by no way an apologist. If you want to engage with people it’s always best to find common ground to help and support each other. Not always possible I know. I have been sanctioned and fought it on my own. Not through choice but as most know, there is no-one out there to help. I have been on the Work Programme for one year and, to date, have steadfastly refused to do an unpaid work placement. By luck or whatever my provider has that to force the issue with sanctions. But I am determined to continue to refuse even that means starving. Whether when the day comes I committ to that who knows. Each week on the WP I see weekly acts of resistance so people dont end up on unpaid work placements but they are made up spurI of the moment excuses because none of us really know what to do and no-one seems prepared to support us or organise us bar groups like Boycott Workfare and Consent.me.uk. However I strongly feel that to break workfare it will take a mass movement refusing to do it and if it develops we would need the help, resources and practical support of Trade Unions with things like food kitchens. Whether that happens or not I dont know. I see no signs of it . Sigh

  21. Overheard in Jobcentre

    [In German accent]: “I vas vonly following vorders” *snigger* *snigger*

  22. Reblogged this on Mental Health Professional Combating Fibromyalgia and commented:
    This encompasses the sad reality of what’s going on right now and it doesn’t make nice reading. :(

  23. No "Solidarity" with JC/WP staff - Fuck 'em!

    The only reason the SCUM (PCS) are only now screaming out for “solidarity” is because they fear for their own futures. Jobcentre staff can see the writing on the wall – you are all next for the long drop!! :-)

    • Fuck em from me too, no solidarity here, not for dole scum, not for redundant filth, not for redundant probation officers.

      • are they tools of the state, yes they are – as are to some degree teachers, social workers and pretty much all workers who aren’t tools of capital. they are not part of institutions which are purely designed to attack working class people such as bailiffs, coppers, screws and i think we can start a debate on atos assessors. i think there is still room to offer solidarity and lets see how its reciprocated. – we will be stronger on the same side.

        • Job choice IS a moral decision though, id starve before i contemplated working for outfits like the filth, screws, probation, traffic wardens, bailiffs etc, you know when joining such an organisation that you will be effectively be bullying, sanctioned by the state.
          I’m certain it takes a certain mindset to be attracted by these positions and id imagine a great many, but not all are swayed by the perceived position of power that the title brings.

          I can understand your stance, Johnny, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, to quote a phraze, its just something that sticks in my craw.
          Its worthy of consideration, granted, but for me, from there, its pretty hard to draw a line…
          … and somewhere down that line, stand shoulder to shoulder with the filth, the same filth who came at me and mine with glee, battering young kids to the ground most of whom wouldn’t dream of fighting back, enforcing the Criminal Justice Bill?
          Who battered old men in the miners strike who were misguided enough to believe Scargille?
          Nahhhh

          • i happily draw the line at coppers, bailiffs and screws as i said (and possibly atos assessors. these roles exist to carry out violence in the name of state/capital. jobcentres didnt always used to be this way, admittedly there was always a bit of shit, but I don’t see the role of job/education/training advisors, benefit administrators etc is a problematic one – its just being done wrong. i guess thats the point, get rid of what is used to directly attack working class people, radically reform what can be of use.

    • ffs, not this shite again… JCP staff don’t make the rules, JCO are not responsible for the rules, they are made in parliament, out job is to enforce them, nothing more, nothing less!

      • Yeah sonshine, THIS crap again, JCP staff just following rules made in parliament, with so much vigour and relish.
        When you address that problem among your fee paying membership, then you may just earn a little respect.

        Generalisations by their nature are sweeping, and the good will get tarred by the same brush on perceptions created by the bad

    • Ok, can we avoid calling people scum on this thread please and allow people from the PCS to respond if they wish.

  24. Kevinlsmith64

    How did you manage when you were sanctioned and how long was it for?
    According to statistics in 2011/12 35,000 people were sanctioned in uk.
    You would need kitchens in every town to cater for the dispersed numbers, unions know this has been going on and done nothing, so no solidarity.

  25. @kevinismith64 surely all this talk about workfare and unpaid labour is ‘ a fear that is ungrounded in reality’ according to employment minister. You don’t think he was lying do you ?

  26. IN THIS FORUM THE DISCUSSION BETWEEN JOBSEEKERS AND JCP STAFF IS PRETTY REVEALING.

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?p=56513419

  27. Lol Bob! Does a catholic bear…?
    My father died at a time when I was claiming JSA. I had to go and arrange his funeral and obviously I was very distressed. I rang the JCP as soon as I knew I would be unable to attend. There is provision for “family crisis” in the signing on contract, and I had used two of these “allowances” whilst my dad had been very ill, as I cared for him – he lived in Bolton, and I live in Diuham. Despite my distress, I was told that I would not be paid if I didn’t turn up to sign on and the advisor I spoke to was nasty and completely insensitive to the fact I had just been told my father had died. Although she kept insisting I wouldn’t be paid, I pointed out several times that I was entitled to 2 more “allowances” to be made for family crisis. and very reluctantly, after about 20 minutes of argument she said “this will be the last time though”. I replied ” Oh don’t worry, both my parents are dead now, so I won;t be needing special DWP consideration for caring for my parents”. I did complain and received a written apology, telling me that the matter would be addressed through training.

    Last year, whilst having my chemotherapy treatment, the DWP telephoned me to tell me I would have to attend for a WCA. The woman ringing me was completely insensitive to the fact I was having my treatment at the time, and coldly told me that this didn’t exempt me from attending the WCA. At the time I had thought the chemo did exempt me, and I had sent in a report from my chemo nurse , which I was informed they “never received”. I said “Well whilst you are on the phone, here is my chemo nurse, why not speak to her and ask about the details of my treatment, since another report being sent would miss the deadline for my WCA appointment due to the time it takes you to read it and so on.” She was so rude and said “We don’t do things like that, send in the report, attend the WA or your money will be stopped.” She then ended the all. How brutal and insensitive.

    • Totally know what you are saying there..long story cut short…Literally just walked through the door after having a second heart op.,Still dizzy etc from the aneasthetic..I had been given a heart monitor to connect asap to record the seizures [which i still get]..Anyway the phone went…This horrible person on the other end just said…So, why arent you here, you were supposed to be here half hour ago….First I knew of it…I tried to explain what had just happened but she was insistent that I attend…Amazing!!, I Then got quite frustrated and angry ,raising my voice[ which hurt] I said to her and where do you suggest i plug this heart monitor in then?? followed by silence ,,Then a very cold snappy we,ll be in touch soon,,And boy have they…I hear from them more than i do my own family…I honestly felt like saying what about if i plug this monitor into your A—-s then you might understand more about people who are unwell…I,m sorry that happened to you especially when you were in grief they really are despicable..

      • dear ANON since we are ‘customers’ then we have the right of redress dont we?..consumers of jobseraching ‘product’ sort of..then we either setup our own customer protection council or take it literally to consumer rights organisations..

        • I understand,,but when you,re unwell and you feel weak because of that illness it becomes difficult to complain,,don,t get me wrong i have complained before,,and i did get an apology 6 weeks later but it was very basic computer generated tosh!!.and like someone else on here said they mentioned about re training of staff….a hollow apology..but since then i always record all calls..They say at the start of their calls this is being recorded blah blah….I say it at the end of my calls …by the way i have recorded this call…I have even had them say it was against some act or other and have sounded quite worried..but that,s the beauty of it because on a couple of occasions when they,re been nasty i,ve got it taped…have to just say though that a few have been quite human…Thank God.

          • @anon..small steps lead to bigger steps..just ask yourself this..what if what you did was part of a mass movement? ….on a grand scale…

  28. Cheers chewie, keep on digging this stuff up, its very appreciated

  29. Can i just point out that not everyone in the DWP IS a PCS member. It’s sad but true that many are happy to take the benefits that unions bring but are unwilling to pay for membership. Anything that PCS tries to do to support people on benefits (which is not actually their purpose: they are there to support their members) can be circumvented by non-union members. There are also union members who will not take action whatever PCS decides.

  30. Here is a nice quote from a JCP staffer.in that forum I posted.

    Perhaps you could try being less aggressive and a little more amenable. Getting on your high horse and refusing to ‘work for free’ will not endear you to employers. Perhaps if you were a little more willing, take part in an unpaid work trial and use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your magnificent skills an employer would be encouraged to give you a chance.”

    There you go. Work for free you lazy bastard you might get a job out of it.

    • something survived...

      I applied directly and on spec for a job I’d really like, working in a reptile shop right by my house. I didn’t get the job.
      The reptile shop just went bust. On the same day the last bookshop went bust too. I’d also previously applied to work there.
      Years before, and somewhat against my views on gambling, debt and gambling addiction, I applied to be a bingo caller in a nearby village. Got further than usual but did not get job. Then the place closed, was demolished, and became a block of luxury flats and a carpark. So in each case if I’d got the jobs I’d have suddenly had no job.

      I’ve read all the forum comments on the thing about jobseekers versus JCP staff. Wow they are a vile lot. They hopefully get reported to their bosses for their comments assuming so much about the lives of the claimants.

      If you apply to a job like stacking shelves (from which it is very easy to fire you at will), usually they WILL say you are too old, overqualified, etc. or too ill. Agencies I’ve been with arbitrarily suddenly dropped me, for not having found a job, though they never (their job) found me a job. They never even offered one. One I think I’m still with, found me ONE job, as a horticultural landscaper at a new shopping centre. I turned up for my first day, and they genuinely thought they had been played a practical joke. Rather than let me work to see if I could do the job (or any of it), they immediately told me to go home. I was shocked and said why? They said nobody said you were short! I thought they were joking. It turned out they were serious. They got angry with the agency, and the agency took it out on me (they knew how short I am). The agency never sent me another job.

      The JCP posters and their supporters said people on JSA are ablebodied (not usually true), get hardship payments (usually they don’t), and lose their JSA money for getting sacked. What if you are bullied into leaving a job, get too sick, are forced out? What if the boss is the abuser and lies about misconduct as a reason to fire you? JCP can’t know if you were fired unjustly. If you were forced to do the job in the first place, like via the new benefits rules. but then get sacked because you can’t actually do the job properly/at all… do you lose entitlement to JSA as a result? Especially if you couldn’t do it due to disability. What if you got sick/injured at work? What if the job was unpaid workfare? What if you leave cause you can’t stand it? Cause the company does something against your conscience? What if you get sacked for being too old? If you make a mistake? What if your coworkers are spouting bigoted views all day and you have to walk off the job? Or the job was too dangerous? Or you were given ridiculous orders?

      On the comments about the guy who put the dog mess in the job centre, on the Mail’s forum: many people were very negative. (Surely the addition of 10kg of steaming dogshit, to the JCP, counts as a net CLEANING of the JCP?) They made comments on his appearance, and called him a wimp for not being able to carry 10kg without stopping. Also they made assumptions that he was ablebodied, and about the circumstances leading to him tipping out the shit. Some said he should eat it (no the JCP should, it’d clean out their mouths). Others said force him to work (paid or unpaid) picking up dog shit for the rest of his life.

      Shit as a protest was apt.
      -The place is shit.
      -They treat us like shit.
      -They look at us as if we are a pile of shit.
      -They talk shit.
      -The Jobseekers’ ‘Agreement’ (sic) is a piece of illegal, lying shit.
      -The Work Programme is shit.
      -The Workfare is shit.
      -The call centres are shit.
      -The Jobpoint machines are shit.
      -Universal Jobmatch is shit.
      -The sanctions are shit.
      -Many of the actual jobs advertised are shit.
      -Many of the jobs advertised are not from real employers and are forced sex work, porn or other dodgy/scam/fake jobs; which is shit.
      -The ratio of applicants per job is shit.
      -Your chances of getting a job are shit.
      -The government welfare ‘reforms’ are shit.
      -Atos is shit.
      -Universal Credit is shit.
      -The DWP is a pile of shit, with the sewer king sitting on the top.
      Therefore, if they like shit so much, they ought to have some!

      This guy needs a medal. On the JCP vs. unemployed forum it said that one claimant went in to sign on, sat down, then was immediately thrown out and banned for the way they sat down! They got a letter saying they were banned from the JCP for ‘aggressive and threatening behaviour’. Apparently it was because they sat down and crossed their arms and legs. Um that’s normal? (I USUALLY do this, as I’m constantly tired and my legs have trouble reaching the ground properly so I need it to balance.)

      If somebody took out a weapon that would be threatening. You can’t throw someone out for how their body moves. Like what if a guy (perhaps a disabled guy) got an erection? If a person walked in and stripped then maybe they were a) a naturist, like the nude rambler, b) auditioning for one of the scam jobs on UJM for sex industry/porn workers? c) too hot? d) mentally ill? Probably saying to your advisor “I want to rip off your head then spit in the hole” WOULD count as aggressive.

      2 contexts: if somebody walked in, went up to (let’s say) my adviser and pissed in her face, clearly that is deliberate. If they shat on her desk or used her face as toilet paper.
      If somebody walked in, sat down and shat on the floor. Then it is either deliberate or they are mentally ill.
      The other context: if somebody with a disability (or anyone kept waiting long enough, as JCP has no toilets for non-staff) was singly or doubly incontinent in the jobcentre. They could be in trouble for it, though having had no control. (Has anyone tried shitting themselves during an Atos exam?)

      How many seconds would it take a well-coordinated group armed with buckets of shit, to throw it all over the JCP walls? Would human vomit be better? How about bile? (Mairead Farrell did dirty-protests in jail)

      “you may say I’m a dreamer/but I’m not the only one”

      A thought actually, inspired by John and Yoko’s ‘Bed Peace’ protest, and Yoko’s performance art ‘Cut Piece’.
      In another post I mentioned the couple with the baby who are forced to live far apart after being made homeless due to nonpayment of housing benefit, and denied other benefits now for being ‘of no fixed abode’ or at an unacceptable address. (At my 11/2/13 visit to the jobcentre). Because of the system, they are not allowed to enter eachother’s accommodation. Obviously they can’t afford a hotel room. Going into the bushes is illegal/dogging. So the only time they get to see eachother (though cohabited up until their eviction) is at the jobcentre when phoning up to ask why their benefits are stopped. So… the only time they could shag, is in public in the jobcentre! If they were to attempt to do just that…

      I’d like to quote Douglas Adams (Sirius Cybernetics Corporation’s standard reponse to all complaints) and say that I wish there could be no consequences at the jobcentre for simply telling your adviser:
      “GO STICK YOUR HEAD IN A PIG”.

      • @something survived..yeah the jcp staff are utter wankers in that forum full of smug superiority…like they just love to bully people for the fun of it..i would like to ask that arrogant cnut if he fancies working for feck all..’high horse’ indeed !!

  31. I know that minister was lying just like most politicians do. I am a bit stupid but I am not thick :)

    I was on ESA way back but got hooked off after ATOS assessment. Think I may have won if I appealled but was already in rent arrears and facing eviction so rightiy or wrongly didnt go for it as priority was to keep flat so just claimed JSA to get housing benefit reinstated. Was sanctioned about a year ago for ‘allegedly’ not applying for job. Refused to leave JC til I had spoken to someone and luckily got to speak manager. This led to me getting my benefit reinstated after appeal – 3 weeks. Again luckily I have good neighbour and friend who helped to feed me and yes I know it wasnt very long anyway. Hence why I added the proviso ‘who knows’ when the time comes regarding work placement sanction.

    I dont have the answers but as above I feel that workfare will not be broken until there is mass refusal to participate. But that will mean a vast support network of various organisations, including Trade Unions. Otherwise how the hell could you ask people to refuse knowing they would get their benefits stopped for who knows how long without offering any support.

    I think protesting outside shops has its place but dont think ultimately it will be the answer. As with Holland & Barretts it can have unintended consequences with them withdrawing but then entering into offering bogus apprenticeships. Also there are examples where some companies withdraw until the heat is off them, then sneak back into it over time. I accept I may be wrong about that but as I say I dont have the answers.

    All I am convinced about is that it will take a monumental effort of solidarity by all, such as protest groups AND Trade Unions, to stop WCA, ATOS, workfare. Tactics will need to be devised, probably through trial and error but the one thing it will need is mass support by all, whether directly affected or not, All I see at the moment is disparate groups who nonetheless have passionate, committed people and see occasional glimpses of hope and success. But in my eyes there is no doubt that the Trade Union movement will need to get involved in one way or another and that momentum will most probably have to come from the branches and grassroots via (as mentioned previously) motions to conference. Too slow for some maybe so if anyone got better ideas I am genuinely all ears.

  32. Putting the scum comments aside in terms of the PCS position, here’s something that have recently put out to our members: http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/department_for_work_and_pensions_group/dwp-news.cfm/id/339F32A6-6553-477C-BD8970FD4A98A3B0

    It sounds as if the interview that individual that wrote the the DPAC post was being asked to attend a Work Focused interview, as they stated they were on ESA from a medical assessment from their doctor/consultant. The Work focused interview is mandatory under legislation, but it’s not about declaring that they are fit for work (see point 7 in the below link). It sounds as if they could do with some advice about being in correct ESA group, i.e. the support or work-related activity group (see point 10 and 11). Normally the ESA adviser can explain that and signpost help, CAB or welfare rights.

    http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/f31.htm

  33. pcs union rep

    “we don’t make the rules government does, our job is to enforce them”
    Enforcing makes you’re as complicit with unjust, discriminatory policy as the government is.
    As jv states you can have your say, only don’t expect us to agree with pcs or non-pcs members who work for dwp and associates.
    Those whose jobs are in any way threatened are just as bad as those at the top of dwp who are putting pressure on them to act cruelly.
    If they told you to take a long jump off a short pier would you?

    The real sadness in all of this is we are not getting at those that are implementing the mad policies, made up by quango’s

  34. In This Report last year on A4E it is saod that this company wanted MORE SANCTIONS…this ryhmes quite well with what Johnny says with praivate companies having a lot of control over our lives…

    “A fascinating piece in the Observer reports that “Private firms on payment-by-result contracts have suggested more punishments should have been meted out”. In 2009, 139,000 people had their incomes stopped. By 2011 it was more than 500,000. And yet Corporate Watch has documents which show that the companies want more. In the first 8 months of the Work Programme, jobcentres stopped benefits for 40,000 people, but that was only about a third of the 110,000 that were referred to them. The rate, however, is going up. The document shows that Working Links refers the most cases, but A4e is second. It requested sanctions in 10,120 cases. 3,000 of these were accepted by the jobcentres.
    The procedure in A4e’s case, I’m told, is that offices send the cases of non-compliance through to a central office, along with the reasons for this non-compliance (didn’t turn up but was in hospital, that kind of thing); that office then refers them for sanctions. But regularly the explanations get left off, so people find their income has been stopped when they’ve been told that wouldn’t happen.”

    ” It requested sanctions in 10,120 cases. 3,000 of these were accepted by the jobcentres.”

    Now then this isnt the JCP is it? THIS IS A PRIVATE COMPANY..LETS NOT FORGET THAT…SO WHY OH WHY IS THE JCP RUBBET STAMPING THESE ‘RECOMMENDATIONS’ and usually with no background.info??

    http://watchinga4e.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/they-want-more-sanctions.html

    • Providers must DIE!!

      For how much longer are we going to put up with these thoroughly evil utterly cruel, blood-thirsty parasitical PRIVATE COMPANIES inflicting misery and distress on the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society? For how much longer?

  35. Thanks for this info regarding sanctions chewie, I thought if I give a ballpark figure someone would come up with the real figures.

  36. @guy fawkes and all…i have to say that this only following rules laid down by parliament wont wash…the official line by DWP is ”we treat all ‘customers’ fairly..well what happens when that is not the day to day experience of jobseekers…to quote dave cameron it should do ”what is says on the tin’…well the tin is rusty then…
    surely it is possible when a PCS member sees wrongdoing he/she can repert it to a manager or someone..even if it is to keep i line with the official ‘line’ of ‘fairness’ or will they themsleves face sanctioning..ie the sack?

    • something survived...

      Customer means somebody visiting a shop to buy things. The customer can decide when to go out, which shop to go to, what to buy.
      How the **** are we customers, in any sense of the word? Nor are we clients or consumers. Claimant is even a wrong word too: that is like ‘defendant’. Like we are not really entitled to anything and that it can always be suddenly stopped. ESA is bollocks, the conditions on it don’t apply to most people who are pregnant for example, though they may be unfit for work. Nothing covers being in hospital, or fluctuating conditions. The questions exclude most disabilities. It’s so easy for them to reclassify you as not disabled. You are still disabled. Atos and its magic mouse just click and cure all your disabilities! Of course you are too sick for JSA so they either turn you down from the ‘right’ to sign on, or you are forced to lie you’re fit for work when you know you’re not. JCP is not a shop. Shops don’t specify when customers must turn up. They don’t have a banana form to prove you spent the last two weeks looking for bananas. Shops sell something. You can complain about rude staff, return faulty goods, etc. JCP sells nothing. In shops you can buy or not buy. JCP is barely a business, since that word implies at least a basic ability to organise a fuck in a brothel. Their staff can be as rude as they like and not have any consequences, or get promoted for being ruder than their colleagues. If it was a business it would have folded years ago. The employees know nothing about the product (service). Actually it’s not a service either, it does not serve the people it sees. ‘Sentence’ would be more accurate.

      -Department of Wankers and Parasites
      -Department of Wallies and Prats
      -Department of Workhouses and Prisons
      -Department of Weevil Pie
      -Department of Wonky Penises
      -Department of Waiting and Punishment
      -Department of Wool Teapots and Paper Swimsuits

  37. At the risk of being boring (sorry) i am going back to the ‘payment by results.’ in that a private work program provider will lie .cheat, bend rules, fake in fact do ANYTHING to fulfil that scheme..including the actual or threat of benefit sanctions..then surely it falls upon dwp/jcp staff to scrutinise those ‘recommnedations’ not just rubber stamp them through,,and this ”oh we are overworked and under pressure’ sorry maybe you are but the effect it has upon jobseeker claimants can be devastating..and…its not going to make a job .suddenly appear.which to be honest is the present daydream they all have..

    the econonomy is in the shitter.FACT..if you lose a job you are skint..no money no home no address..(how do you get a job when your address is 3rd park bench in the park)..there are MORE swinging cuts to come..but the poverty pimp trade seems to thrive..why is that?
    oh yeah its more business for the corps..one would think thats what all this is for…

  38. there are small waves..small but waves all the same..

    http://unemploymentmovement.com/forum/unemployment-and-job-centre-plus/4540-justice4jobseekers

    ” Although I know certain documments etc are NOT mandatory, there are still threats of sanctions from the staff of JCP and WPs like SEETEC, who really don’t have a clue.

    So, I am proposing to give the JCP and SEETEC the notice below–every time I am asked to sign a document.

    If anyone can give their opinion as to whether the wording is ok–or if I have the right to give them the notice–and ask for it to be officially received via a receipt, I would be grateful.

    OFFICIAL NOTICE

    I do not give my consent to the signing of any documents—but to avoid any sanctions
    I AM SIGNING THESE DOCUMENTS UNDER DURESS, HARASSMENT, THREATS AND BLACKMAIL.

    Although I have no objection to doing my jobsearch/ providing proof of jobs applied for and tasks mandated to me—I will not be treated like a criminal, be monitored 24/7, have my personal data possibly compromised and my privacy invaded.

    Staff at JCP and SEETEC have different interpretations of what is mandatory and what is not.
    NOTHING IS CLEARLY DEFINED.

    The DWP state that they are not required to disclose certain information because the FOI act applies. This is in regard to a request from someone who asked if it was mandatory for registration in certain circumstances.

    They said that under Sect 35 ( formulation of government policy etc) and Sect 42 (legal Professional privilege), that this is because “The policy in relation to Universal Jobmatch is still being developed” !
    That was from their reply on Sept 24th 2012.

    If I suffer health problems due to stress and anxiety because of this, I will seek legal action under the European Court of Human Rights, and not the English courts. This is because I believe the English courts to be corrupt and biased, based on documented evidence freely available.”

    http://www.facebook.com/Justice4Jobseekers

    • something survived...

      This came up now. My jobcentre ‘advisor’ (before keeping me in the jobcentre 5.5 hours) said I had to sign the thing to give them access to my details. I said I would not be and have the right not to be emailed. She said it will become mandatory. I didn’t argue that they’d have to take down the privacy, data protection and human rights laws first. I don’t want that toxic bitch or one of her clones emailing me about bullshit jobs, watching my internet use, reading my profile. I pointed out UJM is broken and none of us at work programme, including the staff and their head office, could make it work. And that when working it is useless. I can’t log in, jobs are the wrong job in the wrong place. And the fact that though I did not tick the box to give access, UJM or DWP or somebody else changed the details on my profile, which is now badly wrong and I can’t change it back. Also that I’m deluged with spam and spend all my time getting through the spam.
      The only ‘advice’ she ever gives is ‘stop being disabled’. Duhhhhh!!!!!!
      She sounds ‘remedial’ herself!

      Q) How many fingers do you have?
      A) Ten, of course.
      Q) Would you like nine?

      I’m not alone in believing my adviser to be a bitch. Everyone at work programme agrees… they know exactly who I’m talking about.

      She has a rival for her crown though. At the same session, later in the day, a different female worker was ripping up and binning all her clients’ job logs, and saying they will be obsolete when everyone has to do it on UJM. But UJM does not even work! Nobody told her the work programme we got sent to -by that jobcentre- has a computer system that puts automatic blocks on UJM and does not let you log in and/or ‘save search results’, so it looks like you did no jobsearching. That it is slow all the time or crashes.

      My adviser regained bitch points by giving me a sanction doubt for writing ‘too much’ stuff on my form under ‘things I did to look for work’. I think she wants to make me write less then give me a full sanction for not writing enough. A previous bitch wrote repeatedly that I’m ablebodied and kept changing the DWP records to say not disabled (should say disabled).
      My adviser is such a bitch, I hope her next ‘client’ is a naturist. BTW, she didn’t care I needed to treat a weird sort of burn thing that started on one hand and is spreading elsewhere, I took the treatment in the jobcentre and it takes hours per treatment so they were not pleased. Had to work the jobpoint machine with my elbows like an amputee or similar. Tricky as the screen didn’t respond to a pen and the elbow seems to give different electrical signals to the finger. I find that when my arm is numb I can’t get the machines to work. They stop responding to a numb finger, even one forced by my other hand. Of course the crap pose they make me hold for 5.5 hours, makes me go numb a lot.
      I’ve spent so long there that in some southern states I think me and the jobpoint machines are technically legally married. In film 5 could Bruce Willis blow up a jobpoint machine?

  39. how to deal with corrupt jobcentre decision making…

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1904728

  40. ok so we are now playing silly buggers and not posting…

  41. here we go…some posts are not posting..typical….

    ok i have a simple question for the PCS DWP guy..its this..
    ARE THE TARGETS THAT THE DWP/JCP staff have to fulfill with regard to sanctions is there a quota..and i dont mean the ‘official line’ either….

  42. ” A rather scandalous confirmation that the DWP (Dept of Work & Pensions) and the JCP (JobCentre Plus) were purposefully trying to trip up benefit claimants to disallow them benefits.

    Government admits Jobcentres set targets to take away benefits

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/apr/08/jobcentres-benefits-sanctions-targets

  43. watching a4e continued…

    “The article goes on: Richard Whittell from Corporate Watch said the Work Programme appeared to be focused on slashing benefit rather than putting people into work. “These figures give the lie to the government’s claims its welfare reforms are about helping people into work,” he said. ” By the time it’s finished, more people will have been sanctioned by the Work Programme than properly employed through it. Every month thousands of people are having their only source of income stopped and being pushed into hardship. Companies like Serco, Working Links and G4S may not be very good at finding people suitable work, but they’re dab hands at punishing them.” The private firms say they make their referrals to job centres in line with government guidelines.
    Chris Grayling is quoted as saying that “there was no financial imperative for private firms to punish jobseekers”. So why are they doing it? Is it the case that increasing numbers of people are refusing to comply with the terms of the WP? Or is there some other reason?”

  44. Managed service tailored to the priorities
    and policies of the local authority
    • Secure and fully-integrated web and
    telephone based application process, delivered
    either as part of the solution or using any
    system provided by the local authority
    • Delivery from our Contact Centre
    Accredited (CCA) shared service centre,
    specialising in services to local government
    • 24/7 contact provision
    • Centralised decision making process
    based on individual policy, procedures and
    financial management requirements
    • Effective customer filtering and
    re-direction processes
    • Local partnership working to deliver the
    most appropriate payment method to
    customers
    • Flexible delivery options based on the
    specific requirements of the local authority
    • End-to-end financial management with
    built in budget control
    • Appeals management that is consistent
    with local authority policy.

  45. Compelling those DWP staff who claim benefits to work more hours would seem like quite an easy thing to do (same for many government employees). The Government could use this as a means to get rid of those deemed ineffective or uncooperative. Would a DWP employee faced with the prospect of having to work more hours enthusiastically enforce the compliance of others if it ensured his or her escape? I think many would.

  46. What is happening in government offices across the country is not welfare reform, it is discrimination against those that are reliant on the welfare state, they are targeting certain groups of people for sanctioning, especially if they are considered unemployable, this to my mind is theft.
    chewie and something survived have documented such cases which should be taken up by MEP’s to present to the European court of human rights, not that I have any faith in the legal sector neither here nor in Europe

    • something survived...

      Okay remember the Panorama programme on the staff calling people LTB’s
      (Lying Thieving Bastards)? Well I heard one new one in my latest day spent at the jobcentre. Some of the male members of staff chose to spend lunch break inside, standing around by their desks, talking, and laughing. And they used a word to describe us, the benefits recipients.
      You’re gonna like this…

      “The Dossers”.
      (JCP staff, 11/2/13)

      Instead of objecting, all staff within earshot of these guys laughed and agreed.

      So should people take them at their word? Turn up en masse just before 5pm, with bedrolls and blankets and sleeping bags, thermos flags, etc. Set up camp inside the jobcentre. “You call us the dossers so we just wanted to agree with you”. Slightly longer could be had if you broke in at night, and spent your time looking at the staff’s behind the scenes possessions. They are probably all on some sort of networked police-calling alarm and camera though. Or a work party to redecorate the jobcentre. Either a swastika and barbed wire design, or actually REDECORATE it properly like in Changing Rooms.

      The irony being that their policies will CAUSE people to become homeless: street sleepers, park benches, doorways. under bridges, squatting. They were mentalists to refuse benefits to a woman who is about to give birth; to separate a couple who have a baby; to say a woman fleeing an abusive ex can’t get help for the fact he owns the bank account and steals all her benefit though she is a single mum. All in 5 and a half hours.

      Would they sweep the street? Would they do it for no money? Would they do it while forced to? Would they do it if they were disabled?

      You hear of parties organised on facebook etc that got out of hand when thousands of drunk strangers turned up. Usually at some student’s/teen’s parents’ house. And the house was wrecked long before the police helicopters and riot squad turned up.
      Would this technique work at a jobcentre in a large city, like London or Manchester, via flashmobs?
      Organise a party in the jobcentre….
      Could it also work at the House of Commons?

      Or going en masse to the jobcentre in the day and all saying you want to sign on. (To point out how unworkable it’s getting with the rules on UJM, 35 hours weekly jobsearch, 2 bust computers to 4000 people on benefits, etc.)

  47. Jv is the dwp the only place these scabs can get more hours of work? you are sanctioning government policy which you have criticized, by supporting those who execute these policies and that’s hypocritical.

  48. Landless Peasant

    I have plenty of previous experience of doing Conservation work, yet was once told by the Jobcentre that I could not put that as the main type of work I was seeking as they said there were no jobs in Conservation in my area. And now they are sending people once more to gain experience in Conservation work!

    • something survived...

      I was told I can’t put gardening any more, as I’m disabled – though I used to be a gardener, freelance. They also never let me put that I’m qualified as a herbalist. They put down office work.

  49. In what way will we win jv?

  50. @jonny void, Jonny, What in your opinion, are the chances of’ DWP Customers’, ever being treated as with respect rather than as bacteria,once David Hitler and Ian Duncan Goebbles are replaced by a government of a different hue? Depends which of course, but what’s your view?

    • Landless Peasant

      Labour and Tory are different sides of the same coin. It’s called the Hegelian Dialectic; Thesis Vs. Antithesis = Synthesis.

  51. Pingback: Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives « Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

  52. Johnny Void 7:56

    It would certainly be quite a blow for dismissed staff to be brought back under workfare to work as security staff in the reception area.

  53. Can you tell me jv why we should compromise our principles as unemployed people that have had to take from dwp staff:

    1. having job seeking delegated to the unemployed in the first place, when it should be performed by DWP STAFF.
    2. The provocation of claimants who are educated to ‘o’ ‘A’ and degree level by sending them on basic courses of which they are qualified.
    3. sanctioning peoples benefits because DWP STAFF have deemed them
    unemployable, medical records are supposed to be private yet they appear to know or frame people as mentally ill or unemployable.
    4. forcing people onto more stringent yet usless jobseeking via uj .

    nobody has come back with a reply of what jc staff do all day, other than tinker about with computers inbetween customer signings and put in suggestions of what the next cruel step towards the sick and unemployed should be.

    • Your medical records are not “private”, Guy, lots of agencies/authorities have access to them, for instance the Police. Lots of agencies/authorities also have access to social work records, again, for instance the Police. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if your private records/confidential chats with your doctor had winged it’s way back to your GP. It is amazing what “officials” know about you, “remarks” that have been made about you and put on record, for instance you landlord. “Doctors”/”nurses” are more dangerous because people mistakenly assume that they can open up to them, that whatever they say will never find its way beyond the doctor’s surgery, but it does. You should be just as wary in a doctor’s surgery as you would be in a JCP office.

    • Johnny is simply stating, as i said above, “the enemy of my enemy”
      It’s up to our own individual conscience if we can stand shoulder to shoulder though…

  54. Apparently A4e has experts in mental health and can diagnose complex MH needs in 10 minutes once a month. Like the same people who are put on via atos..so says jontyOC on twitter

    • WP clerks all seem to think they are experts in mental health! On contrary they are dangerous to their victims mental health. Never could work out how threatening sanctions and even worse the actual imposition of sanctions would be conducive to a person’s good mental health.

  55. Jeff

    Why would jc staff need security guards if they are so innocuous?

    Eric Greenwood

    Perhaps A4E and Atos should assess one another for mental illness because they are clearly not all there in the humanity stakes.

  56. wp sucks

    None of these policies have been devised to promote good mental health, on the contrary they are deliberately pushing people to and over the edge in some cases and that is what makes all of the instigators and exponents of these horrific policies evil.

  57. ‘Interesting’ PCS link above states BME and disabled claimants could maybe be disproportionally ‘singled-out’/targeted for sanctioning. It’s not unlikely and I hope it’s not the case. Several months in of recent JCP experience and seeing/hearing what goes on generally, I’ve started to conclude that it’s the ‘easy targets’ (or ‘the most vulnerable’) – in whatever way this translates, who are first to be singled out for sanctioning – then everyone else).

    If you are young and unwary or young/naive, less young but it’s thought you’re not likely to ‘challenge’ a sanction doubt – perhaps not even appeal. Anyone who is believed to not be very articulate (or less articulate than the adviser?) – perhaps lacking in confidence/not very assertive. My impression is that anyone who’s able present themselves as well-informed or have some of the supposed ‘attributes’ of a more confident/informed person (whether in reality they are, or not), and manages to appear calm and self-controlled/not say what they are really thinking, (who goes along with what’s required) is slightly less likely to be a first choice to receive a sanction.

    If ‘selecting the weakest’ first, as a strategy (whether consciously or otherwise) is the case, does this mean that a system which contains inherent anomalies and is indiscriminate already, also contains an extra ‘entry level’ layer of discrimination? (Leaving aside the ‘standard’ ‘being more than 3 minutes late, whether having rung with notification or not; missing an appointment, for any reason’, sanctions automatically applied to anyone and everyone.

    “Sanctions have been around for a long time” (Manager, JCP, W. Yorks)
    – and have, at some point, moved from being rarely used, to ‘everyday’.

    Perhaps it’s just a small thing, but the threat of very, very little money being available for a period of weeks, and associated stress/distress of knowing that not just the adults, but children as well, who have (obviously!) done nothing ‘wrong’, could be ‘punished’ by going without very basic essentials (or see their parent doing this), should an adviser decide they are ‘dissatisfied’ is not … nice.

    There’s always a possibility, in work, that something could go horribly wrong and/or the job would ‘vanish’ due to a lack of funding – but never (usually) an empty pay packet following on from being a few minutes late one day, or failing to attend a scheduled appointment, even after phoning in to give reasons. Signing on/proof of job search only takes place fortnightly, yet the threat is constant, every day – weekends and bank holidays included.

    I constantly battle with this inhumane yet (legal?) sanctions-farce which is operating, (intellectually/mentally/emotionally and even sometimes physically. First heard about being sanctioned as even a possibility, very early on in around week 3 of the this time of being unemployed, – the first mention of it was when it became a real possibility – at least have the courtesy to explain the ‘rules’ (!). And I’ve struggled since then to see how this is allowable in law and how it’s operating nationally – it’s often prevented me from getting on with the business of being unemployed (which presents enough challenges). These extreme level of pressure being piled onto claimants, just day-to-day, are beyond off-the-scale.

    • “I’ve struggled since then to see how this is allowable in law and how it’s operating nationally – it’s often prevented me from getting on with the business of being unemployed (which presents enough challenges). These extreme level of pressure being piled onto claimants, just day-to-day, are beyond off-the-scale.”

      For sure. It’s hard to think clearly when you feel stressed and on edge all the time because you’re being constantly harassed and harangued by the Jobcentre, and feel tired all the time because you can’t sleep at night because of all the worry, and you need to be able to think clearly and be on the ball when dealing with these people, because they are constantly attempting to trip you up so they can sanction you to meet their targets.

      The unrelenting pressure is overwhelming. It is not conducive to having the right frame of mind for jobseeking, but of course, none of this is about helping us to find jobs is it?

      • Well, no it’s not. And put like that, they’re not conditions many people would expect to be able to function within (without specialist high level stress-training) as a civilian, not wanted for any particular crime, in peacetime/excluding nightmares. Parents/schools don’t offer lessons (maybe they should, now) in how to plan/practice for this type of situation. No-one talks about it. Even job centres could theoretically offer this type of training as (theoretically) they would be best placed.

        Ironically, it’s like having a kind of early-stage addiction (call it “benefit dependency”) – you know the benefit isn’t good for you (there’s so little of it & its effects wear off quickly) but it feels so great returning from JCP after a successful signing, knowing that all’s well with the world for the next 4-6 hours or however long it’s possible to ‘switch off’ …. until reality hits again. It’s not something you’d (necessarily) talk about with friends/family either – only dealers/fellow addicts. (& the dealers really aren’t that interested – as they see both sides).

        Perhaps it’s character building (?*!*) like running backwards.

        (Yesterday) was a good day for unemployment & the causes of unemployment, though & not even day 14 of 14.

        • @shirlynott there is the sanctions quota which was denied but admitted… the problem with payment by results system results in this crap . Money and targets..All part of the business ethics like management speak ie customers.

        • I’m ready to go cold turkey. :)

          I’ve also found that it is a double edged sword constantly reading about the war on benefits all the time. On the one hand you need to keep up to date with the latest developments, so you can inform yourself of your rights and because the government are just blitzkrieging us – changing the goalposts and introducing new scams and traps all the time and you need to be aware of what they are up to in order to try and adapt to the changes and avoid the scams and traps and it is also useful and supportive to discuss these issues with people in a similar predicament, but the human mind is just not designed to constantly dwell on depravity (governmental) and suffering all the time. It isn’t healthy.
          I’m finding it depressing, demoralising and psychologically detrimental to read about these depressing subjects all the time, especially as the odds are so heavily stacked against us, but… if I hadn’t been, I would have probably signed up to Universal Jobmatch yesterday completely unaware that it is a dysfunctional hackers and scammers paradise, designed to put jobseekers under constant surveillance and con them into clicking themselves into a sanction.

          • Good point. Starting to gradually realise this is the way things are for now. It was the whole Jobmatch issue that set me off looking for information/advice, coincidental with friend’s Atos appeal (now ‘won’ – not to be re-looked at for 2 years). So in some ways knowledge is power & feeling less intimidated by ‘the system’/in other ways it is not always the biggest help and too much of anything can be counter-intuitive ..

            Wouldn’t mind unknowing some of what I do know just now/just being able to have some time off (?!). I did start looking into whether there are any days off allowed, wrote the letter then backed out of sending it. Probably best not … who was I trying to kid – It was when the last adviser went a bit like yours & started muttering that I hadn’t put anything down regarding weekends … things got slightly out of hand – she wanted a weekly report and to come round to my house for tea … it’s time to feed the aspidistra.

  58. 💀We all gonna die muthafuckahs!

    Nobody gives a shit except us, and we’re expected to die quietly, or be murdered by ConDemNation policies.
    Those are the stark facts, and nothing will change The IDS Gang agenda being implemented in full.
    See you on the other side.

  59. How long until a mentally ill or just furious person who has been sanctioned ambushes a Job Centre staff member as he or she leaves work and beats up or even murders him or her? It’s not just us that are at risk from this.

  60. Pingback: Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives | Mental Health, Politics and LGBT issues | Scoop.it

  61. Pingback: Jobcentre Staff given too much power over vulnerable people. #WCA #esa #ukmh #disability | Dawn Willis sharing the News & Views of the Mentally Wealthy

  62. Thomas M

    If staff members were so afraid of such a thing happening, it would logically stop them from sanctioning such people,not target them for it.
    no I believe they are sanctioned for no more than the fact that these stuck up jc workers have objections to being faced with the unwashed homeless, the justifiably angry claimant or the educated know it all, all of which is an affront to their incompetent, unsympathetic, pretentious personalities.
    The fact that it has not happened is down to the fact that there is a lot of unjustified hysteria surrounding the justifiably angry and the mentally ill, who from what I have seen are more aggressive in some cases when medicated than not, a bit like the aggressive drunk.

  63. So what’s it to be then? If a Jobcentre clerk doesn’t like you or if you challenge them about anything, e.g., being surveiled on Universal Jobmatch, you get sentenced to one month of workfare… over… and over… and over… and over? Surely this will be impossible in practice? I mean how many workfare places can there be countrywide? Not enough to enable this kind of widespread abuse of claimants by stroppy Jobcentre staff I would bet.

  64. 💀We all gonna die muthafuckahs!

    The Nuremberg Defence.
    “I was only following orders.”
    That’ll do for the DWP lickspittles.
    The bastards.

  65. @Guy Fawkes hmmmm “who from what I have seen are more aggressive in some cases when medicated than not, a bit like the aggressive drunk” Isn’t that the very same stereotyping and “untrained” conclusion that the original post is saying JCP should move away from?

  66. @guy fawkes hmmmm “who from what I have seen are more aggressive in some cases when medicated than not, a bit like the aggressive drunk”. Isn’t that the very same stereotyping and “untrained” conclusion from people who do not have an individual’s personal medical and social history or the training to understand it that the original JV post is saying JCP staff should not be doing?

  67. guy fawkes 9:25

    Anyone told that they will have no money to live on might just react violently. I have not read of many reported incidents, but I have heard of more cases of sanctioned claimants harming themselves,

    Dormouse

    I do not want to create paranoia but I have read somewhere about a social landlord wanting to install heat sensors throughout a tenant’s property. They apparently record the temperature every few minutes and the information can be downloaded to a computer. This information could be used to tell if a claimant was away from his property. If a claimant is away from his property for a night is he not obliged to notify the DWP? “A doubt has arisen….” letter in the post!

    • something survived...

      My room temperature can drop very subzero, landlord’s senses don’t register when I’m inside. It’s warmer in my fridge.
      If you can’t afford to heat your room, that does not mean you are away from the property.
      Besides, since UJM I’m often out a night or two before returning home – jobseeking and dealing with all the spam emails I’m getting.
      What next: landlord to get thermal imaging cameras to spy on tenants and see if they have sex? Pervcam, they could call it.

  68. @guy fawkes hmmmm “who from what I have seen are more aggressive in some cases when medicated than not, a bit like the aggressive drunk”. Isn’t that the very same stereotyping and “untrained” conclusion by people who do not have the personal social or medical history of an individual or the training to understand that the original JV post is saying that JCP staff should not be doing?

  69. Sorry for multiple posts – on phone – didnt realise they were going through

  70. My friend’s son was banned from JC for flipping table and punching security guard when told he was being sanctioned. Was arrested, charged, etc. Eventually got to sign back on but not at same JC. It happens, it’s bound to. People are desperate.

    • something survived...

      I thought the tables were bolted to the floor?

    • GlasgowObserver

      Heard of some guy smacking f*ck out of his ESA Advisor. Just randomly grabbed him over the table and kicked the shit out of him. Guy’s old dad was with him at the time. Just sat quietly watching the chaos. Advisor was supposedly shouting to his attacked: “I THOUGHT WE WERE MATES!!”. lol, just that I find that bit hysterical. Security guard ended up sitting on him to calm him down until the police came.

  71. Classic Tory divide and rule, it’s wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a growing trend of JCP staff ending up in hospital through claimant assaults.
    We all know there’s some Little Hitler’s at JCP but there’s also some genuine staff there too.

    Anyway back on topic, with the introduction of Universal Credit, Hardship Payments are to be turned into Hardship Loans, which effectively puts the JCP saff in the same level as Wonga sales agents.

  72. Please sign the petition for Cameron & Osborne to resign:

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/33327

  73. I would like to address the paranoia thing….Even if the computerised heat sensor was installed, doubtful though…then the answer is NO because that person may have to go to hospital/stay in hospital/even visit someone in hospital….Re DLA…my friends son who is in receipt of this benefit and has several health problems including depression became very paranoid especially at the start of the sun/.daily mail.Atos/jc/Tory propaganda..he did not want to step outside the door .his mum called DLA and explained what had happened to her son.They were very helpful and she was told to express to her son that even though he gets DLA it is not a requirment that he must not step outside ,they also said there had been many calls from people with the same worry….In Times of fear its very easy for a few to terrify millions….look back in History it has always been the case..Hitler Amin,Hussien,Gadaffi the list is endless..All taken down and taken out…As for the vultures we are dealing with now, They must be very stupid if they think they,re going to walk off into the sunset after creating such misery ,death,and destruction…Life has its own justice for the likes of people like that……its called Consequences…..The boy in the striped pygamas….If you havent seen the film.please try and watch it…And you will know what i mean by Consequences…

    • something survived...

      It’s not paranoia when they really ARE after you.

      You could be caring for someone, away at a jobs fair/interview, or staying at your partner’s place. (Laws don’t let you live together, and if you move in together they reduce your benefit and link your accounts)

  74. Kevinlsmith64
    It is not me who is stereotyping the aggressive drunk, that is the police who arrest him, nor is it me that is stereotyping claimants as mentally ill etc., that as you say is the jc worker.

  75. Funky fish

    Genuine staff would not be in the business of sanctioning people.
    So those who have had state loans for education were really subjected to wonga type processing, interesting theory, especially as all loans from the social fund have always had to be paid back, before that there were grants for the poor and no sanctions of unemployment benefit.

  76. Landless peasant

    Your epitition does not include the fact that this is a coalition government who are just as guilty as the two named tories, who would only be replaced even if you could force them to resign, nor would it force a general election, even if there was anyone worth voting for. Well perhaps the Respect party.

  77. off topic……slammed by charities.
    The proposals, that are are being voted on today, would see £800 a year in benefits cut from parents or guardians who house jobless under-25s.
    Currently the money is only cut if the young person is in employment.
    But homelessness charities Crisis and Shelter have warned that with over 600,000 young people unemployed, and rising housing costs forcing more to remain in the family home, that such a move could drive up homelessness.
    The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show one in three men under 34 now lives at home, along with one in six women.
    The charities believe that the plans – which would come into force under Universal Credit – are likely to cause tension in the poorest households.

    http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2013-02-11-Plans-to-cut-benefits-for-housefolds-with-unemployed-youngsters-slammed

  78. Behind the continued sanctioning/and the so-called ‘explanation’ given on each occasion, are managers who will have made it clear that this is part of the job and it needs to be done. (This manager’s managers will have said the same; and the manager’s, manager’s, managers are carrying out ‘government orders’). Anyone who really doesn’t have the stomach for this bit of their job (or isn’t somehow able to minimise their own part in it -?) might look for a sideways move (to Income Support previously; perhaps to ESA) – or maybe could try to leave/or be pushed(?) & the ‘right’ kind of people are put in place. Some notably ‘customer-friendly’ staff (they seem genuinely-‘different’ people) are stationed in the reception areas in my recent experience (I don’t mean the security guards). HR must have a fun-filled time ‘matching’ people to JCP job roles.
    It would be interesting to see a job description.

    A recent conversation with an adviser, who’s been in JCP work for several years, or so it would seems, & so seen the changes in ‘policy’/approach. He said “the government’s pushing [us to push UJ]”. A bit old-school & very skilled with a calculator (more than a computer) he decided to spend ages working out how much better off I’d be in even a minimum wage job (a fictitious job) – taking into account all/any benefit entitlements. Assured me that I will in no way lose out with Universal Credit and Bedroom Tax wouldn’t affect me – which it won’t (for now). Even council tax increase is going to be nothing to worry about (!) – “It’ll all balance back up & definitely will be better off” – even in a part-time, low-paid job from Universal Job-Snatch.

    This might be true (time will tell) – but it led to a conclusion of “You’ll be okay” (bedroom-tax-wise) so “no need to worry” which is wide of the mark as I’m affronted/worried in every way about the ‘big picture’ of social security/’welfare reforms’ and treatment/consequences for the unemployed as a whole – not just me. No understanding of the terror created by the sanctioning threat is ever hinted at, the idea is that we each absorb this like (?an animal would/a robot?) – so it’s never spoken about and the piece of paper is signed – as if there never was anything to worry about.

    Shouldn’t be a surprise that assumption is that everyone really is just looking out for themselves – in this context it makes sense – JCP are alleged to be about helping individuals. It just seemed that so long as able to show that there’ll be people worse off than you, everything is fine (?!). The most recent ‘line’ that it’s now a conceit to stick to a particular envisaged salary (or number of hours) as anything can be made to work to anyone’s advantage, we also covered. Adviser was fairly outraged that someone else (a recent graduate) felt their recently-acquired qualifications should allow them to presume they were ‘worth’ trying to get £12/hour. He said he had explained to this optimist, and that with some re-jigging of the figures, there would be no need for them to try to aim for any set amount – they could work a different number of hours, for a very different hourly rate, everything would balance up & they would still be as well off as he was certain they needed to be …

    • something survived...

      JCP staff: “Oh you could be a very cheap prostitute, have you thought how you could be making £12 a day?” “How about cutting it to 50p?”
      I think it was blackadder, baldrick becomes a prostitute and he makes £12.50 or similar. I think blackadder asks which person only gave 50p. Answer: they all did.

      Course unless you’re freelance most/all goes straight to the pimp. (wondered when Atos would reenter the discussion)

      JCP: “think of all the money you will save in your new job as a corpse”
      “do you really need money? food? oxygen? your skin would look nice in my house as a lampshade”

      JCP calculations are crap. I could work 40 hours (though not able to) and still not get enough to live on, though already work double that on stuff like jobseeking at risk to health. If you use minimum wage (which is not paid in dodgy illegal jobs, and is before deductions), you still need to add in the cost of losing housing benefit and all other benefits not just JSA. Also cost of living rises because you lose anything/everything you got free/reduced due to being on benefits. Education, free school meals for your kids, grants, etc. A lot of these would then be claimed back from you so the bailiffs would call soon. Also travel deals. Concessionary entry to anything.
      As a worker you would be more likely to get council tax and bills demands if you didn’t before. Could get evicted if your house isn’t for people with jobs. The same for couples where one gets a job. Could order you to separate from partner. Minimum wage wouldn’t pay for the rent. Then there are monthly bills like from banks, credit cards etc. Television licence. Cost of transport, kids, pets. Sports activities (they say they want us to keep fit but punish us if we do and if we don’t). Travel, like petrol/tickets, maintaining a car. Do you even have any left for food? Banks won’t touch you at low wages for a loan application, so you have to go to wonga or a pawnbroker or to an illegal loan shark. You can’t get a normal bank account so banks won’t give startup loans for becoming self-employed.

      If I could work 16-20 hours (doubt I could, and can’t fulfil the punctuality requirement due to health), that is too many hours to get benefit. (Less, and they take it out of your benefit making it pointless to work.) In order to have the same amount as if 40 hours my job would have to be pretty posh and important. Before breaking even I’d need much more than that to live on.Where are those miracle jobs?

  79. just had a interesting time at the job center signing on, the adviser once again tried to make me use my ujm account for job search and told me i had to tick the box giving consent for them to look at it, with that i told them i had read the term and condition and was not happy with doing so and that i have every right to with hold my information under the data protection act 1998, and its against the European convention of human the right a right to a private life, and i have there pcs unions notes and had she read them she said yes and does not need to see them, the fucking look i got of her wow she could have killed someone, i gave her my written search and went through every thing that i have done in the last 2 weeks to find work with evidence of the job i applied for. i ask was that enough she said yes and i could go. haha fucking brilliant thought it might of got messy in there

  80. Yes she might have attacked you!

    • something survived...

      Mine put in a sanction doubt for writing too much evidence of jobseeking activity. She has a terrible memory, forgetting how 2 and 4 weeks ago she logged into UJM as herself to show it working, though I know it doesn’t work. I told her she had forgotten doing this. It came up with only 4 jobs, all undoable. 2 not in my area. One for an engineer. I pointed out I no longer can get to this point because UJM locks me out and the work programme computers block most features of UJM from working. I certainly don’t get a button to apply.

  81. Pingback: Unity and solidarity with claimants should be practical, not just theoretical | Black Triangle Campaign

  82. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

    United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

  83. In response to the pingback left by the black triangle campaign, I have no doubt that the pcs union may well be exonerated from policing the unemployed, but that will not stop other dwp workers who are not in a union or in other unions perhaps who have no such qualms about handing out sanctions, therefore all the pcs member has to do is hand those to be sanctioned over to others while they sit back and watch the atrocity carried out without being apportioned any blame. There are as many loopholes in employment laws as there are in tax laws.

  84. The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make a criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X

  85. something survived...

    On the plus side the pope quit. A liberation theology leftwing marxist catholic from south america would make a better pope! one into solidarity, unions, the people, diversity, the rights of indigenous peoples, workers rights, fair pay. Current leadership: How do men in dresses get to say what is correct adult sexual partner choice, when a) they are not meant to have sex and b) many of them instead prefer doing things to kids. Virgin Mary got forced into an arranged marriage as a little girl, then raped by god and made pregnant with a bastard child called Jesus. Poster girl for rape victims being banned from abortions. And for women as acquiescent doormats. Women didn’t have souls for centuries in their theology. Catholic leaders in Americas are letting women have abortions and use contraception, which angers the rightwing leaders in the Vatican. ‘Correct’ (missionary!) position of women is as sex dolls and unpaid domestic slaves, with no voice or opinion. And their main role to be production of one baby a year till they dry up, or till they die in childbirth. Not meant to have jobs, travel, vote. After all they are just vessels for men’s ‘seed’! Old belief that there was no such thing as DNA and ova. Trusting a woman means you’ll sail off the world and fall over the edge. Women should cover up to stop men looking at them and getting impure thoughts. So these ‘perfect’ godly men aren’t so perfect? Did Jesus never have these thoughts? Purgatory and limbo: really gloomy ideas. Hell. Heaven (boring).
    When you finally acknowledge the existence of paedophiles, you qualify that by saying they are loads better than gay people. But kind of the same thing. Obey the pope no matter what: Jesus didn’t say so. Was Jesus a) normal and married (and of course circumcised), b) asexual/celibate and a virgin c) shagging a prostitute d) gay?
    Missing his teachings like do unto others, judge not lest ye be judged, the meek shall inherit the earth, turn the other cheek. Politically, Jesus was killed for rocking the boat. The people free the terrorist they think can better fight for them.

  86. ANTILIBERTARIAN

    Newspapers don’t influence my judgements and never have, you can agree or not agree with what is written if it is based on fact, but people should be ruled by their own mind.

  87. something survived

    You have a very anachronistic approach to the catholic religion, it’s moved on a lot since vatican 2, you are rightly outraged about paedophilia within the priesthood, you made me laugh but would probably be flogged for blasphemy!!!!!

  88. Pingback: Workfare Is Broken! New Court Ruling and Charity Exodus Are Death Knell For Forced Labour! | the void

  89. I’ll fucking have you all, you fucking workshy, lying, sponging bast….OOOOOF. Please do not adjust your set. That was IDS having seven shades of cunt punched out of him by an extremely large, angry, rivethead.

    First JCP goon who talks to me in anything other than a respectful tone WILL be picking their teeth up, and they can take my JSA and fucking EAT it. I am fucking SICK of being viewed as a criminal simply because I am out of work. With today’s ruling going in Cait Reilly’s favor, I really hope that some people will now develop a set of balls. The fucking Third Reich didn’t break the spirit of the British people…..I will be fucked if this fucking shower O shite will break ME.

  90. Great news about today’s court ruling. No doubt the govt will appeal or try to find loopholes and new legislation to worm their way out. But they are on the ropes, so dont let them off, protest and resist. If I have understood ruling correctly, anyone on schemes like Work Programme (in fact all schemes except MWA) cannot be sanctioned if they refuse to do unpaid work placements. So if that’s the case, it’s down to us all to refuse. And then take down MWA

  91. Pingback: Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives | Disability Issues | Scoop.it

  92. Pingback: Jobcentre Staff Are Not Social Workers Or Doctors Yet They Now Have More Power Over Vulnerable Lives | GIVE ME BACK MY CHILD NOW!! YOU EVIL BASTARDS | Scoop.it

  93. can the job centre make me see a work phsycologist, i have refused but they now say that they will stop my benefit,i suffer from depression and pani attacks,and this crap is causing my symptoms to become worse thankyou would like some advice please .

    • kim…Sounds like emotional blackmail to me…Can you get the person to write that ‘threat’ down in handwriting and get them to sign it..take it to your doctor…take it to ‘mind’..ask them to help you…..its not in your best interests to be without food etc when you suffer with depression….

    • kim….forgot ..if you want to take the advice please don,t ask them for anything over the phone…try and get to see the person that said it in the first place face 2 face .[ the irony in that ]..and have a friend /witness with you..good luck

  94. Long story cut very short here, but after stepping inside my front door from hospital after having a second heart op..and having been given a heart monitor to connect as soon as possible.. I get a phone call from a twerp at JC+ no hello..Just a stern loud voice which said ‘WHY AREN,T YOU AT THE JOB CENTER!!!!???? i was so shocked and upset I said ok,,would you like me to come there now and what about my heart monitor where do I plug it in..,,silence…err you have a heart monitor…well err …YES I DO SO WHAT ABOUT I COME TO THE JC AND PLUG IT INTO ONE OF YOUR A—S ,you never no..you might work better then,,,,Of course I get told there is no need for that attitude our calls are recorded blah blah,,And so are mine…and have been since a few not so nice calls from various twerps….I think its wise to as well under the circumstances…

  95. Pingback: Universal Credit and Benefit Sanctions, What Every PCS Member Urgently Needs To Know | the void

  96. Its like the police force. Some police misused their power so the entire police force got their powers taken away. If you are in a job upon which your mortgage & family are surviving and you are asked to abuse and mistreat clients, you cannot resign or say no but what you can do is this…start looking for another job and when you get it encourage your former fellow employees to do the same. If noone will work for these places & do these cruel things these activities will stop. Its up to us

  97. Everything is at breaking point because the whole of our society is run by a mathematical equation..and that equation is not saying the right numbers. Our lives are being destroyed to change numbers in a database. The results of the equation may be right but if they destroy human lives its like the terminator movie..something that is supposed to serve humankind and improve society is destroying it do you carry following this equation as its results become more and more unmanageable. Economic figures just get bigger and crazier……soon we will be buying things using figures of 1000s. £1000 for a chair, £100 for a meal, 1 million for a house. A system is needed to tame the equation. Endless growth is good? What if we get crushed by this giant that is ever growing?

  98. But there is a bigger picture to all of you are yo yo dieters and
    have attempted to lose weight? Diets that cause you to lose weight
    is alcohol. After all, it’s not as quick as dumping 2% milk on a bowl of miso soup with tofu, enoki, and wakame, salmon meuniere*, some potato, and some forms of cancer. Getting enough sleep can keep your body from storing fat, scientist research reveals.

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  100. I have spent from 3 June 2013 till 4 October looking for work and often during the early hours to seek a good job suitable to my training. The local JCP in Cheltenham deleted every single job I had applied for I another county and are forcing me to remain living in Cheltenham despite being a victim of DEATH THREATS! They are fully aware that I was looking for work and provided evidence to them. They and my local authorities had deletede THREE EMAIL addresses noting one was specifically for EMPLOYMENT PPURPOSES ONLY. Where is it written that the UK can deliberately stop any claimant looking for work locally, nationally ;or internationally and in doing so delete every single job applied for without OUR CONSENT! David Cameron PM quoted on national TV in Sept/Oct 2011. “Social housing tenants can move anywhere they like whether for employment ;or for personal safety” would anyone care to disagree that having a brick thrown through your windows, death threats made to you and harassment is not a “personal safety” issues and I am prevented from relocating to another county in order to escape future attacks on me. Where is the LOGIC in thier stupidity ! It appears that I have NO rights but to be killed in ;or out of my home and whilst the Government can interfere with my emails and endanger my life, it is acceptable. What a joke to live in the UK and not have any of the HUMAN RIGHTS that we are alleged to have in the the UK and YES, I am a BRITISH PERSON and not of any other nation.

  101. Pingback: Shocking 50% Rise In Assaults on DWP Staff In Just One Year | the void

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  104. I am currently a distant unpaid carer for a 90 year old, who has a pace maker but also has difficulty with her hearing and suffers with asthma. She depends on me to supervisor her to remain calm, when she has a panic attack. My local Jobcentre has totally ignored this fact – and the so called Advisor has not a clue how to handle and respect Carers. When I told her I was a part time carer, she told me ( ” I’m not having this”) I was suprised by her reaction to me being a Carer.I still do not understand what she meant. I thought Carers had rights and the system has to be flexible to deal with helping them in their caring role.

    The system is targeting the very people who are helping the economy to grow, and saving billions of pounds that should help towards the cost of travel and other expenses. I feel totally let down………

  105. I’m on the sick with depression and anger management problems when I near stabbed a mate of mine and I also chased a guy with a samurai sword but I’m already getting help for this and it was caused by both my mum and dad had died by the time I was 16 but I found my mum dead so this was not a nice thing to find any how I would say me nearly doing that to my mate and the other guy I’m not to be put in a work group full of idiots and the job centre have put me in a job group now but if anything happens and they say it was not there fault I will go to the news papers with it .

  106. hi I went to the jobcentre to a work interview and I told them I am having a second baby with the same dad and the adviser was saying to me im going to get done for fraud and he needs to move in with me and pay the rent and bills and for me to come off benefits, but im not with the dad so can she really be telling me this I thought they was there just to help with work not relationship …. any advise ?…..

  107. Can anybody help me!
    I have been signing on since January i have joint custody of my child but dont recieve any benefits for her. I have been constantly called a liar buy my jcp advisor,she said I was lieing about having severe epilepsy and other problems. I provided evidence to prove i was in reciept of dla and and a photo copy of my prescriptions. She then started saying i wasnt doing enough to look for work even thou I noted everything on universal jobmatch and had every email from the countless recruitment agencies I was reffered to from uj. She started then using mwa as a threat. I said I would do it, I completed the 4 weeks work which I then volunteered to do 4 hours aweek in my own time. Upon attending the job center today I was very confident and in a very positive mood. This woman could see that accused me of lieing about when I have my child which I previously provided a letter signed and dated from myself and her mother confirming the days I have my child which my advisor has lost. She now wants to see me every week I am at my wits end, I do everything she ask and don’t know what to do.

  108. all job center staff are arigant and should be delt with accordingly as they are all iddiots.

  109. @FUQ YUSELF…i am pretty sure they have a wet dream over sanctioning people.

  110. of course they do….power freaks

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